UPDATE at 1:10 PM | OSCAR winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. has been released after being arraigned in a US court on charges he groped a woman at a New York City night spot.
The 51-year-old star of “Jerry Maguire” denies the allegations and pleaded not guilty to forcible touching and sexual abuse charges.
He was released after about six hours in police custody.
A 29-year-old woman told police that Gooding placed his hand on her breast and squeezed it without her consent at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge. The woman said she believed Gooding was intoxicated.
Video obtained by TMZ appears to show Gooding putting his hand on or near a woman’s leg and breast as they sit on a couch with another woman between them.
Gooding is then seen pulling the woman’s hand to his lips, as if to kiss it, and leaning toward her before another man steps up and talks with them.
The video could be key evidence for prosecutors, but Gooding’s lawyer said the footage showed “not the slightest scintilla of inappropriate conduct” and will exonerate him.
Lawyer Mark Heller said he doubted the accuser would show up for court hearings and suggested that prosecutors should charge her with perjury if she testified in court and her allegations were contradicted by video.
Gooding had his hands cuffed behind his back for part of the proceedings.
A conviction could put him behind bars for up to a year.
Heller also disputed allegations in media reports that a second woman said to have come forward in recent days claims Gooding grabbed her buttocks at a New York City restaurant in 2008.
“There is no pattern of conduct,” Heller said. “It is not uncommon for people to come out of the woodwork when these things happen.”
© PAA 2019
FIRST at 7:00 AM | Actor Cuba Gooding Jr has been arrested and charged with forcible touching after a woman accused him of groping her at a Manhattan bar last weekend, New York City police said.
The “Jerry Maguire” actor was charged after reporting to police on Thursday, the New York Police Department public affairs office said.
He faces one misdemeanor account of forcible touching in an incident that occurred on Sunday.
Gooding has denied the accusation, which was made by an unidentified woman who said Gooding touched her breasts at the bar on Sunday night.
Gooding‘s lawyer, Mark Heller, said security video from Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge showed no criminality on his part and will exonerate him.
“There is not the slightest scintilla of inappropriate conduct on his part,” Mr Heller said.
After reviewing the security video, Mr Heller said he was hesitant to let Gooding surrender but decided to go through with it.
He said he was surprised police and prosecutors were moving forward with the case.
Gooding won the Academy Award for best supporting actor in 1997 for his portrayal of an athlete in the film “Jerry Maguire.”
In 2016, he was nominated for an Emmy for playing O.J. Simpson in the miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”
© PAA 2019